Patterns are the double helix of the textile industry—the visual DNA that serves to establish the identity of a company. In the pre-digital era, companies like Pucci and Marimekko found a way to create and make distinct visual vocabularies their own. As Maharam moved into the digitized world of the 21st century, we challenged ourselves with a design research initiative that could capture emerging post-analog trends and yield a new pattern language that we could call our own.
In collaboration with Pentagram's Abbott Miller, Maharam invited an international group of ten entities at the forefront of graphic design to create ten patterns each. The participants included A4 Studio (New York), Marian Bantjes (Canada), cyan (Berlin), Graphic Thought Facility (London), Harmen Liemburg (Amsterdam), Karel Martens (Arnhem), Abbott Miller (New York), Niessen & de Vries (Amsterdam), Post Typography (Baltimore), and Casey Reas (Los Angeles). As submissions arrived, they were pinned up in the Maharam Design Studio, creating a solid floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall panorama of pattern. When viewed from afar, the hundred patterns, ranging from the thematically quaint to the digitally dazzling, provided immediate insight into the commonalities and distinctions of contemporary pattern language.
One pattern from each of the participants was selected for production—hence "1 of 10." Included among these are Centric by Marian Bantjes, Conjoined Alphabet by Post Typography, Longlegs by Harmen Liemburg, and Trio by Karel Martens, with more to come.
Although 1 of 10 was ultimately too stylistically divergent to map the pattern genome, it provided fascinating results that resonate deeply as manufactured textiles and enabled us to identify talented collaborators, many of whom we continue to work with as we build an expansive and rich pattern lexicon.